GENERAL LEGAL PRINCIPLES; CONTRACT ENFORCEMENT/ INTERPRETATION – General Principles of Contract Interpretation
Single Topic for Decision 2160E
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1404.03000 – General Principles of Contract Interpretation
Traditional rules of contract law guide PERB’s interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement. PERB need not go beyond the plain language of the contract when the charging party has not alleged facts, such as bargaining history or the parties’ past practice, showing that contract language is susceptible to another interpretation,. The plain language of the collective bargaining agreement set the employer’s health benefits premium contribution rate at 100% of a particular health plan’s rate; it did not require the employer to maintain a certain level of health benefits. The charge failed to allege any facts showing that the parties gave the language anything other than its ordinary meaning. Accordingly, the employer did not make an unlawful unilateral change when it deducted the amount of a health benefits premium increase from employees’ paychecks during negotiations following expiration of the agreement.